With billions of smartphone owners worldwide, it’s no wonder that mobile gaming is one of the fastest growing sections of the global games business. In the US, according to the Entertainment Software Association, 60% of Americans play games on their mobile device. In an ecosystem that’s largely driven by free-to-play games with microtransactions, it’s essential for publishers to understand the spending habits of players. Interpret’s research has found that younger audiences tend to spend more on mobile gaming, especially as a percentage of their total income.
Despite generally earning less, younger people were found to spend more on in-game purchases than older players. The biggest spenders were found in the 35-44 age group, whose average 3-month mobile gaming spend was nearly $32. From age 45 and up, there’s a substantial drop-off in spending, which speaks to some generational differences. For people in their late 30s and early 40s, gaming was instilled as a part of entertainment culture with the NES launch and Super Mario Bros. in 1985. As the Gen X and Millennial crowds age, Interpret expects their game spending to continue.
Looking at younger players who were exposed to mobile devices at a very early age, the average spend of almost $23 is quite high as a percentage of income at age 25, or as a portion of allowance for teens. For the lower spending amount seen in the 18-24 age group, Interpret believes that these young adults are often faced with college expenses and other entertainment options besides gaming. As life settles down post-college, mobile game spending goes back up.